The Fallen Woman Theme Inspires Once Again in "La Triviata."
by Hometown Tourist, Clarine Lizana
The story of a fallen woman with a noble heart has inspired theater and opera goers for centuries. The Pittsburgh Opera opened their 2016-2017 season this month with Verdi’s “La Traviata”, as did the Florentine Opera. “La Traviata” translates as “The Fallen Woman”, a subject that may seem a little trite and sexist in this day and age. The heart of the story, however, deals with the life choices made by young people of every age, the decision to lead a life of hedonistic pleasure, or a life of true devotion. Whether to another person, a cause or an ideal, this sublimation brings the fullness of life and joy. Sadly for Violetta, this realization comes too late in life.
The performances of the cast and orchestra were excellent. Danielle Pastin as Violetta sets the bar for any who would follow her on the Pittsburgh stage. Her voice is not only strong and precise, but has a certain melodic quality that makes one wish that she were available to lullaby them to sleep at night. Every note that issued from her throat mesmerized me. The pairing of the two lovers, Danielle Pastin as Violetta and Cody Austin as Alfredo Germont was powerful and touching but could not compare to that of Sebastian Catana as Giorgio Germont. I look forward to hearing more from him in the future.
The minimalistic set design created a stark contrast to the ornate costumes of the era. A large framed painting, present during the first and third act, made to resemble a fresco created an excellent backdrop to the story. It gave an old world feel to the opera setting. My only complaint was with some of the staging, which allowed performers to be turned from the audience or blocked by other performers.
Sung in Italian with English subtitles, this two hour and twelve minute opera with two intermissions left you wanting more instead of wondering when it would end.
For late comers, you can still see “La Traviata” on Sunday at October 16 at 2PM. Well worth the trip.
As an opera enthusiast, my greatest joy of the night was the size of the crowd. For a Tuesday night, the theater was quite full. Even more exciting was the fact that a good portion of those in attendance appeared to be 30 years and younger. Perhaps the millennials will bring a revival in the arts.
Clarine Lizana is a retired electrical engineer who is a former native of Republic, Pa and returned to Pennsylvania after retirement. She was formerly a training director at Crater Lake Electrical. She now lives in Uniontown, Pennsylvania and spends her retirement crafting, visiting family, golfing and travelling, having just returned from a trip to Italy where "La Trviata" of course was playing.